Project news & updates

Sentiment Analysis in the Blogosphere: the Potential of SYNC3

8 April 2010 | PROJECT NEWS


The journalists, bloggers and new media specialists who looked at the first prototype of SYNC3 indicated that the SYNC3 Workspace could be useful for media monitoring as well as media research.

The SYNC3 system, an EU co-funded project, is an attempt to map the blogosphere. Its Workspace allows users to map and track the sentiments of bloggers and citizen journalists pertaining to particular news events. 

Such mapping sheds light on the formation of public opinions. A March focus group at the EJC’s office in Maastricht gave media professionals a chance to see the SYNC3 Workspace and give feedback. SYNC3 is the product of a consortium that includes the EJC, L3S, RIA Novosti, Google, Xerox, Athens Technology Centre and other partners.

Key distinctive feature of SYNC3: sentiment analysis

The media experts who met in Maastricht showed great interest in sentiment analysis, the most distinctive feature of SYNC3. Many questions were raised about the sentiment analysis model: “How do you determine sentiments? How do you decide what is negative and positive? How does the system deal with the various degrees of positive and negative sentiments?” Sentiment analysis of blog posts works by categorising blog posts as positive, neutral or negative. It examines the sentiment of the author not only toward her subject, but also named entities identified in the news item, such as persons or organisations. All participants saw this feature as one of the system’s most useful. 

The media experts who met in Maastricht agreed that it is important for the user interface of SYNC3 to clearly distinguish between news articles, blog posts and news events. Users want to know what kind of sources they are working with.

Collaboration features and potential users

The Workspace tool allows users to make their own information and news maps and add content to them collaboratively or individually. The potential users saw an applicability for SYNC3 in media monitoring activities, academic media research as well as in a newsroom. The Workspace enables journalists to see the differences in how news events are covered in traditional articles and blog posts.

The SYNC3 Consortium has just started a project period of integrating all major system parts together and plans to have the first full prototype ready at the end of this year. 

Note to editors: SYNC3 was launched in March 2009. Co-funded by the European Union, it aims to track the posts and views of bloggers and citizen journalists in the context of traditional media news. * The SYNC3 Consortium includes Athens Technology Center (ATC), National Centre of Scientific Research ‘Demokritos’, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz Universität Hannover (L3S), The University of Edinburgh, Xerox Research Centre Europe, European Journalism Centre (EJC), i-Sieve, RIA Novosti and Google. The latest news is available on the project website, and also through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates.

SYNC3: News-Centric Semantic Blog Analysis
The EJC led the research and development of SYNC3, an innovative blog search and curation platform. The blog search engine, which also functioned as a content analysis tool, aspired to facilitate journalistic research, but also catered to media curators, bloggers, and public relation professionals.